New Orleans March 21–25, 2015
Early-Bird DeadlineJan 16
000Days 00HRS 00Mins
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Behind the Scenes: How Programs are Selected

It’s official, the 2015 NASPA Annual Conference is already breaking records! This summer we have more volunteer reviewers than we’ve ever had which is good because more programs were submitted for the 2015 Conference than any previous NASPA Annual Conference. All of this means that you’ll have the highest quality content to choose from when you arrive in New Orleans.

As a submitter or as an attendee you may be wondering how we take all of these submissions and distill it down to the program that you can choose from each March. For the first time we’re going “behind the curtain” to show you how the magic happens.

Reviewing the Programs

The day after the call for programs closes, event staff begin the process of assigning reviewers. While it may seem easy on the surface, each program needs to be seen by seven  to eight reviewers. Pre-conferences are given priority so that they can be ready by October 1 before moving on to the general session submissions.

Once the volunteer reviews are completed, the program committee comes to DC for an intense three day period of reviewing the work done by the volunteers. All of their thoughts are evaluated by the committee and used to make a final determination.

Creating the Schedule

Scheduling the final selections brings a unique set of challenges and is by far the longest part of the process. There are some basic logistical challenges that have to be overcome first like:

  • how big of a room does the session need?
  • what kind of setting does the room need: round tables or auditorium seating?
  • and, if the presenter has multiple sessions, are they double booked?

From there, we have to look at the program content areas to make sure that they’re evenly spread out throughout the conference. You can’t attend every program, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss every session on alcohol abuse because they’re in the same time block. There’s also consideration given to the many meetings and receptions that happen that could also conflict.

Notifying Submitters

Happening simultaneously with scheduling is the process of notifying accepted presenters. Because of the constraints of the scheduling process, presenters are given only a short amount of time to confirm that they’ll still present their session otherwise that spot will be used for another program.

By everyone’s winter break the selection process will be complete. Programs will be selected, presenters will be notified, and sessions will be scheduled. We’ll make the full schedule available on the website as well as the NASPA Mobile App so that you can begin to select which sessions you’d like to attend!


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